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Farmer of the Year, Mike Mellano with Julie Walker (courtesy photo)

Flower Grower Michael Mellano Named 2014 Farmer of the Year

Escondido CA— Michael Anthony Mellano, Ph.D., Vice President of Production for Mellano & Company, a third generation cut flower production and distribution operation in San Luis Rey, California, has been named the 2014 Farmer of the Year by the San Diego County Farm Bureau.  He joined the family business in 1988 after graduating from University of California, Riverside.

From grad school Mike returned to Mellano & Company and worked alongside five other family members to build the business. Today, the heart of the operation is 375 acres in San Luis Rey where Mike Anthony oversees plant production, while Mellano & Co continues the run the wholesale Los Angeles Flower Market originally begun by Giovanni Mellano, and wholesale markets in Carlsbad and Las Vegas. Mellano and Co also oversees farm operations and harvests flowers at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

Mike Anthony’s day to day responsibilities are significant given the scope of activities Mellano and Company is involved in, but he’s made it a priority to serve the industry he is part of. “The drive for me is having the opportunity to try and make an impact to something larger and bigger than my own day to day farm activities,” he says.

Mike served as president of the San Diego County Farm Bureau (SDCFB) from May 2009 to May 2011. During his term as president, SDCFB created the San Diego Region Irrigated Lands Group, the San Diego County Water Authority’s Special Agriculture Water Rate was extended for two years, and Farm Tour Day was initiated.

Along with Mike Mellano, Bob Vice of Fallbrook won the Farm Bureau Service Award and Carolyn Harris of Ramona received the San Diego Grown 365 Award.  Hal Clement of San Diego, (not pictured) received the Friend of Agriculture Award.

Along with Mike Mellano, Bob Vice of Fallbrook won the Farm Bureau Service Award and Carolyn Harris of Ramona received the San Diego Grown 365 Award. Hal Clement of San Diego, (not pictured) received the Friend of Agriculture Award.

Mike is currently Chairman of the California Cut Flower Commission, member of the USDA Floriculture Initiative Task Force, Board of Director for the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation and has served the last six years as the representative to the “Council for Agricultural Research, Extension & Teaching” for the University of California.

Mike has also served as chairman for the California Ornamental Research Federation (CORF), on the UC Davis Environmental Horticulture Department Advisory Committee and as a grower representative to the USDA-Pacific Area Wide Program for Methyl Bromide Alternatives.

Michael is married to Valerie Mellano, Ph.D. and they have four wonderful children, Chris, Joey, Kathleen & Suzanne.

Mike Anthony Mellano received his award as Farmer of the Year at the San Diego County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and picnic on April 25.